The Ageless Question

11 04 2008

Kom Ombo

Kom Ombo, Egypt: Evidence of the sartorial elegance of ancient Egypt


Barely a week passes without the question raised of how the pyramids were built, who erected the Moai statues on Easter Island or for what purpose Stonehenge was assembled. For me, however, there really is only one genuine international travel question.


Is it ever really acceptable to wear socks with sandals?


I am not a slave to fashion, but there are some things that I find unacceptable regardless of the situation or surroundings. Men should not wear light cotton sarongs whilst standing on subway grates. Women should avoid flammable polyester ball gowns with metal sequins and tassles during thunderstorms, and thongs should be outlawed for anyone particularly hirsute or whose waistline exceeds their age.


The socks and sandal question is more than just a sartorial dilemma, however.


After a long day of trekking in tropical climates, there is no greater thrill than undoing the laces on your thickly-soled, hand-stitched, water-proof, ankle-supporting, high-tech hiking boots, pulling forward the sewn-in gusseted tongue and hearing the fizz of hot steamy air escaping. You pull your feet free, peel off your double-layer wick-away New Zealand merino wool socks and expose your pasty-white feet to the fresh air, wiggling your toes in an absolute frenzy. The last thing you want at that point is to confine them once more, so you reach for your sandals and feel the delirious pleasure of walking almost bare-foot.


As night falls and there’s a slight chill, you are still loathe to return to closed footwear…but you can’t sit by the campfire in just sandals lest the nasties devour your toes. Bare ankles and feet – even smelly ones – are manna for mosquitoes, and ants will happily plunge their razor-sharp mandibles into your exposed flesh and remove chunks with relish. There are also ticks, earwigs, scorpions and poisonous centipedes to consider.


The boots are a non-starter, so you are left with the decision between donning socks with your sandals to provide comfort, some freedom and a degree of safety…or remaining bare-footed in your sandals and risk having the flesh ripped from your bones, swelling-up like a balloon from nasty itchies, or contracting a tropical disease.


As a logical sensible-thinking person, there’s really not much of a question: better that the socks be thrown in the fire than worn with sandals!



Photo and post by: Simon Vaughan © 2008




One response

11 04 2008
John Walter

You had me going there, I thought you were going to say it was acceptable. And you know what? You’ve certainly got some good logic there. I’m sure with some brainstorming we could identify some suitable situations where socks and sandals MAY be acceptable, but it’s in these other circumstances where they’re absolutely NOT acceptable where I have the problem… Oh, and there’s always bug spray to keep the nasties away!

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